Here we explain what you need to do if you've been asked to write a reference for a UCAS Postgraduate applicant.

New for 2021 entry – explaining the impact of coronavirus

As a result of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic in 2020, many applicants will have experienced some form of disruption to their prior education. While some of the impact will be felt equally across all students, some students may also have been affected to a greater degree due to their individual circumstances.

Where appropriate, you may use the reference to identify to admissions staff the impact of COVID-19 on the applicant. We recommend you discuss this with the individual to understand how any prior study was affected (e.g. environmental or technical issues, access to resources, illness, or bereavement) and to see if they are happy for you to mention this.

On their application, applicants will be asked to provide the details of two referees. These referees should know the applicant well enough to write about them and comment on whether they are a suitable candidate for postgraduate study. Applicants will not be able to complete their application and send it to us without either:

  • full details of both referees, or
  • confirmation as to how the references will be provided to their chosen university or college

You will need to write the references in English, unless the applicant is applying to a Welsh university or college and the rest of their application is completed in Welsh – in which case the reference may, of course, be written in Welsh.

The reference should be entered into the space provided, and can be sent as an attachment to the application. Alternatively, you can send it by post or email it directly to the university or college the applicant is applying to.

References must not contain any false, misleading or partial information, and must not be written, edited or changed in any way by the applicant.